If you have young adults in your life, hopefully they have introduced you to bubble tea, also known as boba tea. This combination of tea, milk, and gelatin-like tapioca pearls, invented decades ago in Taiwan, can by now be found in strip mall cafes all over the US. Almost always there are high school and college students inside slurping boba beads through oversized straws. Franchised versions of the concept have of course followed.
Having visited a few of these bubble tea cafes with my kids, I was primed to notice several ready-to-drink and make-at-home versions seeking to capitalize on the boba trend — and to take drink occasions away from iced and bottled coffee. Here are a couple:
During an interview at Future Smarts last month, a Wall Street analyst said he would have been laughed off the stage several years ago had he predicted US carbonated soft drink pricing growth of +15% without a troubling pullback in volume. No one is laughing now. Consumer acceptance of significant pricing growth across major beverage categories has shocked even the most seasoned industry watchers. Despite the price escalation, CSD volumes declined at a manageable -1.4% last year. Energy drink makers, who are generally slower to boost prices in a booming category with lots of new entrants, raised pricing by +6.3% and still added +3.5% more volume. While Sports drink category ...
Alcohol was a hot topic at our Future Smarts conference on Dec. 5 in New York.
A Pepsi bottler made news related to alcohol distribution, and executives at Coca-Cola and
PepsiCo made even clearer their interest in the sector. You’ll find a related story in today’s
The Coke executive was Henrique Braun, the company’s incoming president of international development. In an on-stage interview, we talked a lot about Coke’s core non-alcoholic business as well. I asked him about his priorities for the...
Being a nosy beverage industry journalist and commentator, I often ask people what’s in their refrigerator. Sometimes I look myself -- with permission! So, it’s only fair that I share my personal beverage landscape, plus some observations:
Bottled water is an anchor beverage for our house. It is convenient. We always have a case of private label filtered water on hand. From there, we branch out into 1-liter or larger bottles of branded spring, electrolyte, or specialty water depending on what’s on promotion. While we are brand agnostic, we prefer filtered water over the softness of spring water. We are recyclers.
We like zero sugar colas and root beers as a pick-me-up or refresher. While cans are the norm, we buy PET bottles when our preference is out of stock. We like promotions but we’ll generally...
During the recent stretch of third-quarter earnings calls for investors, executives at Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper remained buoyant as consumers barely batted an eye at higher beverage prices, as evidenced by US soft drink results at retail this year (page 9). “We've seen elasticity continue to be strong and stronger than expected through three quarters of the year,” PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston said on Oct. 12. “And obviously, we are carefully watching what happens with the consumer.” Almost two weeks later, Chairman and CEO James Quincey told investors...
As you know well as a BD subscriber, we are paying far more attention to the alcohol beverage market. In today’s issue, we write about the friction caused by non-alcohol beverage companies as they find ways to patriciate in ready-to-drink alcohol.
Given that backdrop, we are excited to announce the addition of Anheuser-Busch InBev to our Future Smarts conference program. Our guest will be Fabricio Zonzini, president of ABI’s Beyond Beer business unit in North America. He runs the fastest growing business unit within ABI’s largest geographic zone.
During a fireside chat with me, Zonzini will provide commentary on industry trends in RTD cocktails, seltzers, and low-alcohol packaged beverages, which have been a focus of growth for the world’s largest beer brewer. ABI also plays in traditional non-alcoholic RTD categories including energy
With all the excitement over Celsiuslately, one could lose sight of the fact that global players Red Bull and Monster still control more than half the US energy drink category. Each is busily defending its turf while growing volume and dollars. But with long-standing or second-generation owners, they are ripe for M&A speculation.
Rumors last week that Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz is seriously ill sparked just such talk. Dietrich and his family hold 49% of Red Bull. The family of the late co-founder Chaleo Yoovidhya owns the rest. Could the company...
Allow me to catch you up on plans for our Future Smarts conference on Dec. 5. Our return to New York City after two years of successful virtual shows promises to deliver an expert lineup as good as we’ve ever hosted.
Just yesterday I confirmed our most recent speaker addition: Michael Del Pozzo, the new president and general manager for PepsiCo’s Gatorade Performance Portfolio. The unit includes Propel, Muscle Milk, Evolve plant-based protein shakes, and now Fast Twitch energy drink for athletes. We haven’t announced Del Pozzo’s appearance, so consider this a sneak peek. BodyArmor in recent years has re-ignited a category that had become sleepy. It’s now a free-for-all and Gatorade hasn’t backed away from...
This headline stopped me cold: “Coca-Cola launches project to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and transform it into sugar.”
I checked to see if the story came from the Onion. It didn’t. I looked at the calendar. The month was August not April. I searched Google for the article’s source. It was a legit press release from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.
The U.K.-based bottler that serves Europe, Australia, and the island nations surrounding Australia has partnered with the University of California, Berkeley “to develop scalable methods of converting captured CO2 into sugar,” the company announced in August. Attention, grabbed.
Through its CCEP Ventures unit, the Europe-based bottler will help fund work by UCB’s Peidong Yang Research Group. The sugar extracted from carbon dioxide could be used in beverage products or in the production of PET plastic, reducing the need for crude oil, the bottler said. “The development of lab scale prototypes could make the generation of essential raw and packaging materials more sustainable in the long-term,” according to CCEP. “It could reduce, some of the largest CO2 contributors in supply chains, while saving material, transportation and logistics costs.”
Aside from the sheer cool factor of such scientific work, there is good reason for bottlers like CCEP to call attention to this work years before it will yield truly scalable results. Consumers, especially younger consumers, want...
The liquor store sure has changed. I popped into one last week to grab some Finnish Long Drink for our dog sitter. I left having seen the very embodiment of a trend.
A massive display of Svedka vodka sodas and teas greeted me at the door. Other floor displays throughout the store pitched bright-colored cans of premixed cocktails, like a gin and tonic from Bombay Sapphire. Newer canned spirits brands such as High Noon and Cutwater stacked the cases high and sold them – at a premium.
An entire section of shelves was permanently labeled “Ready-to-Drink.” An endcap display, big enough to incorporate a full-sized bicycle, marketed a product from craft beer trailblazer Dogfish Head (eventually acquired by Boston Beer). The display wasn’t for beer, however. It was for canned cocktails by Dogfish’s distilling unit. Even Dos Equis offered a blanco tequila ready-to-drink margarita.
I asked an alcohol distributor stocking a display about the transformation (spurred in part by consumers’ boredom with beer)...